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Constitutional referendum held today in Italy

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Constitutional referendum held today in Italy

italy referendum
Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

In today’s referendum, Italians will vote on a reform to reduce the size of the Italian parliament from 630 to 400 deputies and 315 to 200 senators. The reform will also significantly limit the numbers of “senators-for-life” and positions reserved for Italian citizens residing abroad.

The Democratic Party-Five Star Movement (PD-MS5) coalition government is pushing for the constitutional reform in order to simplify the legislative process and reduce the government’s operating costs. Opponents of the proposal, however, argue that the reduction of costs associated with cutting MPs would not affect overall government public expenditures. More importantly, the reform would reduce the quality of representative democracy in Italy since smaller regions would lose representation to larger electoral districts.

Even though the reform was rejected earlier by 59% of votes, polls currently show that 70% of Italians support the constitutional reform. The Italian public, which is especially critical of the government’s “bloated and overpaid” government, is likely to vote in favour of today’s constitutional reform. If a “Yes” on the referendum is accompanied by victories in the seven regional elections also hosted today, PD-MS5 will reaffirm public support for its policies and governance thus far.

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